Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Inclusion and Social Development

First Advisor

Valerie Karr

Second Advisor

Dolly Daftary

Third Advisor

Rita Kiki Edozie


The role of international development organizations in advancing a vital message of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) "leave no one behind" cannot be overemphasized. Following the specific mention of persons with disabilities in the SDGs after its omission in the MDGs, there is increased momentum towards ensuring that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and other vulnerable populations are not left behind. Despite the enthusiasm to advance and actualize this global goal through international development assistance, the process of how programs are designed and implemented/operationalized is unclear even within organizations that seemingly have policies developed in this regard (Grills et al., 2016; Wissenbach, 2014).

One outcome of the challenge experienced by development organizations is that persons with disabilities continue to miss out disproportionately and, in some cases, entirely from benefiting in development projects compared to persons without disabilities (De Bruijn, 2012; UNDESA, 2016; Niewohner et al., 2019). International development assistance supports governments and other stakeholders to create inclusive societies. The research applied a case-study methodology and a transdisciplinary lens to under-study the operationalization of five twin-track projects. The projects were examined using four disability-inclusion principles enshrined in the UNCRPD, primary evidence-based data on disability-inclusive programming processes, practices, challenges, and successes, considering context-specific factors.

The findings reveal that policy at the international, regional, and country levels is significant for informing on-the-ground disability-inclusive efforts in the project fields. The two-pronged approach of twin-track projects shows merit for driving disability inclusion systemically and adaptively for sustained impact. However, development organizations achieve disability-inclusive practices and processes to varying degrees, based on subjective interpretations of policy requirements, the availability of resources, the willingness and cooperation of senior management, relevant stakeholders, including other in-country factors. There is a need for increased support and collaboration from the government and other stakeholders to ensure sustained impact and continuous improvement. The perceptions and experiences of persons with disabilities inform recommendations for programming areas for advancing disability inclusion in society. Thus, the future of disability inclusion in Nigeria will depend on how well the majority of persons with disabilities who live below the poverty line are included socially, economically, and politically in the society.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.